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Episode 34 - The 5 Love Languages Trap

Episode 34 Overview

 I am a big fan of Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages. However, I've been seeing some women use this powerful information in a way that actually hurts their relationship, not help it. This week I'll give you a quick overview of the 5 Love Languages, tell you the trap you want to avoid, and how to use this material to benefit your marriage the most.

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00:01 Episode 34: The Five Love Languages Trap. Welcome to the First Year Married podcast, where we get real about building the marriage of your dream. I'm marriage coach Kayla Levin, and I take newly married and engaged women from anxious and insecure to confident and connected through practical tips, real life inspiration, and more than a little self-awareness along the way.

00:39 Hi, everyone. I am recording from our new kitchen here in Israel. This is so exciting. But also, if the sound is not what you're used to, just know we're working on it, figuring out the office and all that. Hopefully we'll have our normal standards up and running very soon. So, I definitely have a lot that I want to say probably in next week's podcast about just this whole moving process. And of course, I'm always thinking about you all and how anything that we're doing could apply to you, or be of value, or helpful for you guys. I think I have some sort of reflections on the whole experience that, especially for those of you who are early on in your marriage or who are really struggling, I hope will be very valuable.

01:24 Today, I want to talk about the five love languages and a trap that I'm seeing a lot of people falling into when it comes to the five love languages, and it really is ... Thought work is so, so super helpful in approaching this particular trap. So, it's an easy out. You'll notice it right away if it's something you've been doing. But since the five love languages are really valuable, I'm going to start with just a quick review of what they are. Some of you probably already know this and might want to add on to what I'm saying. I'd like to sort of discuss on Instagram whatever we're discussing on the podcast this week, so love to hear from you. But, I'm really just giving a very basic overview. And then, we'll move on.

02:05 The five love languages is a concept developed by, and a book, by Gary Chapman. It is definitely one that I would recommend having on your bookshelf. If nothing else, it's one of those examples of when you get to read something and you realize how very differently we function. There's so many different places where we just make assumptions. And if something speaks to me one way, it probably speaks to someone else the same way, too. The basic concept of it is that we receive and give love in our own language, and our spouse might not have the same language of love that we have. So while maybe getting a gift for me makes me feel very loved, it might not have the same effect on our spouse. Our natural tendency is to give in whatever language we receive love in. So again, if I think gifts make me feel wonderful, then if I want to make my husband feel wonderful, I'll give him a gift, but that might not be what he needs. So again, I think it's a great book to read. I think it's very helpful. It's a great tool to add to your toolkit.

03:10 Want to go through these five love languages with you just to give you a concept of how that works. The first one is words of affirmation. Words of affirmation just means literally saying things about appreciation, and love, and how wonderful the other person is. It's just speaking in a way that's very encouraging, not criticizing. This person loves hearing. It means a lot for them to just hear language spoken to them about how great they are or how much their loved and all that.

03:44 The next one is physical touch. This is the person who feels so loved when they get the hug or someone's rubbing their back. It's not always intimate touch. It can be any kind of touch. It can be a squeeze on the arm. A physical touch speaks to them with love. And you'll see that. Your friends that love hugs or the people that you know that love to be hugged, they're generally the person that's they're giving out the hugs, too. Partly because they want the hug, but partly because they think you want the hug also.

04:11 The next one is receiving gifts. Receiving gifts means that they feel thought about, they feel appreciated, the gift itself speaks to them, and it just means a lot to get a gift.

04:21 Quality time. Now, this person doesn't need to be given anything. They don't even necessarily need to be told anything particularly, but they want your time. They want your attention. They just need that chunk of time with focus and attention given to them.

04:39 The last one is acts of service. People who don't have the love language acts of service are often very surprised by it. Acts of service is anything where someone's taking something off your plate. It might be loading the dishwasher. It might be washing your car for you. It might be helping with your kids, if you're older. Acts of service is anytime where you're sort of taking something off the other person's plate. These aren't particularly romantic-looking things, right? This is literally just that.

05:13 This is a little sidebar. I would say almost exclusively, not exclusively, but I very frequently hear from women who once they have a couple of kids, my love language is acts of service and his is physical touch. I just want to point out that if that's what you think, then it's very possible that's true. It might also mean that you just need to look into some of the dynamics of your relationship. It could mean that you need to work on getting what you need. First of all, I get acts service. I also feel that way. The acts of service feels very loving towards me. But if that's the only thing that I'm looking for and I'm not sort of working out all of them, because the truth is we all need a bit of all of it, if I'm not sort of spending any time in the other four areas of the five love languages, it might just mean that I'm burned out. It's not necessarily that's my love language. It might just mean I need more help whether from him or from someone else. So, just ask. Just check with that. Just check in with yourself if that might be it.

06:13 And then, the same thing for physical touch. As you know, I don't discuss intimacy on the podcast. But basically, if there is an imbalance there in terms of sort of what's healthy and good for both of the people in the marriage, then it's going to come across like, "Oh, that's all that matters," to whether him or her. So, those are just things to check into. Take your temperature on how those pieces are going if that's your dynamic. I guess you really could question all of these. But that's the thing, none of this is coded in our DNA. We always want to take this with the attitude of whatever this does to empower and help me in my relationships I'm going to take. And if this makes me feel more anxious or more resentful, which is actually the trap I'm going to discuss, that's when we want to be really cautious about any of this stuff about treating it like it's this truth with a capital T. Which, again, this is after me saying to you how much I appreciate this concept, so I'm not bashing it in any way, but we need to be careful how we use it.

07:09 The benefit of the five love languages clearly is that when you know what resonates with your spouse, that's what you want to do, right? If that's what's going to sort of get the most bang for your buck or the most points, that's the thing that you want to focus as much of your attention on. He does talk about, especially in the five love languages for children where he says shouldn't get confused, every child needs all of them, and I think that's true for adults also, but we want to kind of make sure we're getting enough of what that person is going to really appreciate. So, I find it very empowering in that way.

07:41 Where I see people tripping up is making it this need. Like as soon as they hear about the five love languages, it's like, "Okay, well, fine. But you know what? I'm not getting the quality time that I need, and I need it. That's my love language." Right? So now, not only do they have an issue of maybe they want more time with their husband, but now it just sounds really official, like, "Oh, well, now it has a name. It's called quality time, and it's my five love languages, and I need it, and I'm not getting it." I think that's a really disempowered place to be when it comes to your relationship. It's like, right? It's almost like you've given yourself a diagnosis and now you need this medicine, otherwise it's a disaster.

08:24 The alternative, which I find to be extremely empowering, is to translate his love language. What that means is if quality time is your love language and he's giving you acts of service, it's just as simple to say to yourself, "Oh my gosh. He really cares about acts of service. And look, he just took my car to get an oil change. Look how much he loves me. Isn't it interesting that for him that's his language?" This doesn't have to become how obedient he is to following the five love languages appropriately.

09:00 Having a thought, and again, this is going back to the thought work, if I have a thought about how much he loves me and how I'm seeing his love based on understanding his love language, I don't need it to be in mine. Remember, your feelings come from your thoughts. So if I'm having this thought, "Oh, well, he's changing the oil in my car, but when he should be doing is giving me quality time because that's my love language," so how are you going to feel in your relationship? It might sound like I'm sort of cheating you out of something, but what's the point? The point is you want to feel love and connection, right?

09:33 So if using this to make yourself feel resentful and uncared for, that's not going to get you to love and connection. But if you're using it to translate his behavior, to appreciate the gifts that he's giving you, whether his time, or his words of affirmation, or his touch, or his actual gifts, or acts of service, whatever it is that he's giving you, and translate that and then in your head, say to yourself that this is his love language, so now you're using the love languages in a way that's extremely empowering.

10:03 Now, none of this is to say that you shouldn't communicate with your husband what things you like. Let's say it's physical touch for you, and your husband does not have that love language. So you see that you are wanting more physical touch just throughout the day, hugs, or handholds, or whatever, and you're not getting them because that's not sort of the way he communicates love. He's doing all these other wonderful things, it's just not your love language. This concept really resonates with you. So I just want to offer that it's so much easier to have a positive and connected conversation about, "Hey, I really would love it if we could work on this part of our relationship."

10:45 If you're coming from a place of, "Oh my gosh. My husband loves me so much. Look at all these things he does for me. Look how he's this guy who does quality time and that's his thing, and he's always taking extra time to spend with me. He really goes out of his way. He doesn't do other things so he can spend time with me. That's so beautiful. I'm so loved. Now let me go tell my husband who loves me so much about this thing that's going to earn him tons of points. Let me tell them about this thing that's going to make me even more loved and excited," versus, "My husband doesn't know me at all. He totally doesn't understand me. He thinks I just want to spend all this time with him because that's his love language. And instead of realizing that my love language is physical touch and what I just need is a hug instead of all this time, so I'm feeling very misunderstood, not cared about, not loved, and kind of like I am in need of something that I'm not getting," which, again is a very disempowered place, not where we want to be.

11:44 So any time you're going into a situation where you're going to be having a conversation about the relationship, about how you want things to be going, I highly, highly recommend sitting down thinking to yourself, "Okay, how am I feeling right now about this conversation, or about what I'm getting, or what was going on in my relationship, and what's my thought about that that's making me feel that way?" My husband totally doesn't get it, or my husband doesn't know what he's doing, or my husband's such a jerk. It's totally normal, by the way, to rail on your husband in your mind. That's very normal. Our brains go to a negative place. I don't want you to be scared if you all of a sudden have this horrible thought about thinking he's a total jerk or you hate him. Being scared of that is the worst part. But if you're just like, "Oh my gosh. That's so normal because I'm not paying attention to what's going on in my brain. Do I really believe that to be true? No. Am I really tired? Yes."

12:42 This is the podcast I'm giving right after extreme jet lag and a very, very long, tiring move, right? Any time you're having a negative thought like that, you just want to stop and be like, "Okay, what is really going on, brain, because you're just acting up." Just sort of imagine your brain like a problematic toddler is having a tantrum, and it's not as big a deal. But if we take everything that we think as gold and, again, truth with a capital T, so then we're in big trouble because then we have no control over our experience. We have no control over ourselves. Basically, we're not living in reality. We're just living in this like weird pseudo reality that we made up, which I guess is the same thing when you choose your thoughts, but then you get to choose the pseudo reality that you're making up so that's great. Let's do that.

13:28 All right. So I'm going to wrap this up because I am rambling and exhausted. Point being that any time you're going into a conversation about your relationship, you want to be really clear about how you're feeling and what you're thinking that's making you feel that way. And then before you go in, because that wouldn't be enough, you need to think like, "Wait, well, how do I want to feel?" And again, connected and loving are generally a really safe place to go. If you're approaching a conflict in your relationship with a feeling of a goal of connection, wanting to feel connected, so then you see how this problem is hurting you guys as a team. How can you as a team work together to fix it? Maybe this is one where you're going to need to pull more weight. Maybe he's going to need to pull more weight. You guys are together on this. Connection and love are really good ones to come back to. And what thought do you need to have about this conversation so that you can have that conversation in a productive and meaningful way?

14:22 And again, a final reminder that is very important is the mantra Never Go to Bed Angry is not good for a lot of couples. For some couples it works. For many of us, myself included, we get less creative, less patient, less understanding, less empathetic. All those go out the window when we're exhausted. And the later you're having an argument, and the later it's dragging on, you're going to become convinced that this is really critical. This is really bad. This is really a problem. And you're going to just stay up later, and later, and later, and sort of digging yourself deeper, and deeper, and deeper into this. I'm sure some of you have even had this experience where you stay up, and you have a fight, and you wake up the next morning, and you're like, "What? What? How did that get blown so far out of proportion?" Right?

15:13 So if you're really tired, then you just want to sort of, by rote, say, "I want to fix this. I love you. I can't do it because I'm so tired and I can't even think straight, and I'm worried we're going to do more harm than good right now. Because I love you, I'm going to bed. We will talk about it in the morning. I'm not going to ignore this problem. I'm taking it seriously. I cannot give it the respect that it needs when I'm this tired." And again, don't be like me. Don't learn the hard way. Just do it. Just take my word for it. Wake up in the morning with some little, like just a reboot in your brain, and a little more creativity about how to go about this problem. You'll be in such a better place.

16:00 I hope you gained from this one. I, again, really love this whole five love languages concept. I think it's so great. I've seen so many people use it in a really wonderful way. I think it's such a great idea to work on how you can give to him in his language. Meaning, if I was talking to him, of course I'd say the same thing to him, but we're going to stay in our own lane, right? I'm talking to you. So your self-improvement is going to come from seeing if you can stretch outside your comfort zone. Can you work a little bit on his language? From the receiving end, yeah. Can you ask for what you want? Absolutely. And we just did two episodes on how to ask for what you want, so just go listen to those. Absolutely you can ask as long as it's a situation where he can win, where he's going to really be appreciated for it, and you're coming at it from a place of real love and connection and wanting to sort of give him a new tool for him to win at this game called making you glow.

16:54 All right, ladies, I just want to thank all of you again for sharing the podcast. I even just saw a new review. I think it was . I didn't even notice before. You guys are just amazing. I just want you to know I look at those reviews on iTunes, and it means the world to me. When you reach out to me on Instagram and tell me that you've been listening, and introduce yourself, and tell me a little bit about your marriage, and what this has been for you, I just ... It means the world to me. I'm really very grateful to be able to give back in this way. As I said, there's no way for me to go back and tell all this to myself 10 years ago, as much as I wish I could, so I get even more joy out of sharing it with you all. So, thank you so much.

17:36 I also wanted to tell you that I have officially switched the First Year Married online course to an evergreen course, which means that those of you who are waiting for the October cohort do not need to wait. I redesigned it, because this is obviously what I should be doing with my time right now when I'm moving to another country, but it's great. It's redesigned so that when you sign up you actually get access to the entire course immediately, because I know some of you are just total binge listeners. And I thought, "You know what? Maybe you're binge students, too. You want to just get all the information." It's lifetime access to the classes so you could go through them and watch them all at once and then you could come back to them as you need to.

18:14 Or if you are the type that wants more schedule and sort of accountability, then you also get an email every week starting from the week that you sign up. So let's say you sign up on Sunday, the next Sunday, you'll get the email for week two. That will include a link to a anonymous Google Form where you can submit questions for coaching, which means I don't even know who's asking unless you want to tell me, which is great if you want to. So you can send any question in about what's going on in your relationship, as long as you've listened to that first class, because that's the model that we use for coaching. Then, all of that goes on in the private Facebook group where I go in and I answer the questions in there. Once a month, we'll be focusing on a specific class and the content from that class and sort of taking it a little bit deeper.

19:01 So each week, you'll get that email links, again, to the Google Form, to the Facebook group, to the class for the week, and for the homework assignments because, again, you guys love homework. It's a super amazing opportunity. I am so excited for those of you I've been able to share this with. I know that a major benefit for me of doing this podcast was to continue to stay connected to my alumna of the course, graduates of the course. So please, if you know anyone that you think would benefit that's getting married, it's such an amazing gift to give a newlywed, I would love for you to share the information about the course. You can see everything and

19:43 The truth is, the reason that this went evergreen is that it seemed so wrong to me to be saying to somebody in July that was having trouble in her relationship or was just feeling like not 100% or like she didn't have the guidance or the information that she needed, "Okay. Just wait till October." That's so long. To only do this four times a year just wasn't giving people the opportunity to get what they needed when they needed it.

20:08 So if you're not sure, if you want to get more information, if you go to, you can get the first class for free. So you just go into, and there's a link to the course on the top of the site. The first and second class, you just click a link that says preview. I think it might make you put in your email. You watch that first class. It's going to really break down thought work, and why we use thought work for our marriages, how we use thought work for our marriages to improve our relationships, to improve our experience of our relationships. You can watch that full class for free. I'm so happy to share that with you.

20:43 And if you are interested in continuing and going deeper into the work and really doing the coaching, then that course is available. I currently do not have any openings for one-on-one coaching, so this is the only way to work with me at the moment. I will let you guys know when that changes, too. So again, come join the class. If you haven't done it already, let your friends know. Maybe you guys could do it together and be accountability partners. Be so cute. It's a blast. It's so much fun. I just, again, am so beyond blessed to be doing this work. So, have an amazing week, all of you. Be well. Thanks for being here. Bye-bye.

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